You’ve all heard the expression “sex sells” right? Its obviously true otherwise advertisers wouldn’t put semi-naked people on billboards, or attempt to convince you that you’ll be irresistible to women with the latest Lynx product.
But what if you’re advertising in Playboy? Surely its a foregone conclusion that your ads should reflect the fact they’re being seen in what is effectively a top-shelf magazine.
But what if it was May 1970?
Here’s my favourite advertisements from Playboy May 1970.
1. Esquire Socks
Now what’s not to like about this advert? These guys are on the brink of drawing straws to see who’s going to be eaten first, their jeans are torn to shreds, they haven’t had a shave in at least 24 hours. But look at those socks. Not only are they staying up at mid-calf level but they look as if they’ve just been washed too. I really wish one of these guys (preferably the guy sitting up top at the back) was modelling the “anklet” style sock though, just for a bit of variety.
2. Benson & Hedges
Benson & Hedges
Now here’s a man who’s got everything, a beautiful lady, a herringbone jacket, a white polo neck jumper, and a box of Benson & Hedges Gold. This is a YES man. I can’t help thinking there’s some subliminal messaging going on here.
3. Sony Clock Radio
The Sony Nag
I’d really like one of these – it looks stylish, and its got a revolutionary snooze bar instead of a button. All these years I’ve been pressing a button with one finger, when I could have been pushing a bar with up to 3 digits. What was I thinking?
See how good you could look in a pair of Wright Slacks? This drawing of a man in some trousers has shown me the light. And look at his dog.
5. Johnnie Walker Red
Johnnie Walker Red
If I’m going to be drinking Scotch anytime soon, I want to be drinking it with this man.
Its party time in his world right now and he’s got a whole bottle to share, look how happy he is!
Almost makes me want to ditch my new LCD screen for one of these. I certainly don’t need trouble, no lover does. The white polo neck jumper makes an appearance in this ad too, it must be a sign of success (note to self: must go shopping for a new jumper).
He’s not even watching his new TV and he’s got a girl falling all over him, in fact he’s gone so far as to put one foot on it, this is usually a pose reserved for catalogue models pointing off into the distance with one foot on a log or a bench. Clearly, a confident man we’re dealing with here, I wonder how far those boots go up his legs?
Elsewhere in the magazine, Playboy attempts to lure in potential advertisers by giving out some of its reader demographics.
“2 out of 5 Playboy Readers have spent £500 on home furnishings in the last 2 years. And 2 /5 readers have spent £750 on “wall-to-wall carpets” within the last 12 months.” Now that’s luxury isn’t it, my carpets finish a good 3 inches before they get to the wall, more like a massive rug.
Some of the adverts I left out were for international airlines, Super8 cameras, reel-to-reel audio equipment, and even a full page advert for a photographic enlarger.
The average reader in 1970 was clearly a stylish assertive man, concerned with fresh breath, good aftershave and masculine cigarettes. He liked his drinks strong and unspoilt, he liked to listen to 8-track tapes on top of the range equipment, and probably fancied himself as a bit of a James Bond character.
One thing’s for certain, he didn’t like his socks rolling down.